Oktoberfest is a folk sensation, widely celebrated across the globe, which is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon yet many are oblivious of the rich history and traditions tied to this monumental event.
Oktoberfest is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and takes the title of the world’s largest Folk Festival attracting over six million visitors each year. Theresienwiese, referred to by locals as the Wiesn, are the meadows where the festivities take place. It is a short ride out of Munich and the original home of Oktoberfest. The vast landscape is transformed annually into a colourful fairground of floats, parades, amusement rides and massive tent structures or should I say beer halls.
Oktoberfest runs from Saturday 22nd September to Sunday 7th October and is a celebration of Bavarian culture, hospitality and shall we say, fun. One would be forgiven for associating Oktoberfest with bier, bier and more bier… to be fair that’s not too far from the truth. Traditional German food is on the menu, authentic Bavarian bier is flowing, historical costumes are in style and classic folk music never sounded so good; these are a few of the ingredients that make Oktoberfest one of the most special festivals and memorable celebrations across the globe.
The origins of Oktoberfest date back more than 200 years. In 1810 Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, it was a royal wedding of epic proportions and the citizens of Munich were invited to enjoy the festivities. It was five full days of eating, drinking, music, parades and horse racing. This historical event would pave the way for Oktoberfest to be born.
The Grand Entry of Landlords and Breweries is an impressive parade of over 6’000 participants. The Münchner Kindl (coat of arms of Munich) leads the procession with other representative of the city followed by the beautiful carts of the landlords, breweries and even the waitresses who work tirelessly to keep the beers flowing.
Much of the procession, and crowd for that matter, are dressed for the occasion wearing the traditional attire. The ladies look fantastic in the Dirndl; a colourful and feminine dress fitted with an apron. The men proudly march in the Lederhosen, originally worn by farmers, this special outfit is made out of leather and steeped in tradition. For many attendees the costumes of Oktoberfest are a major highlight.
O’zapft is! It is tradition for the Munich Mayor to officially launch Munich’s Oktoberfest by tapping the first keg of the festival. This opening ceremony involves a traditional gun salute fired in air by the Bavaria statue, a broadcast to all that the festivities may begin and beer tents can start serving. The Oktoberfest schedule is filled with events to look out for such as the costume and riflemen’s parade, gun salutes and open-air music concerts.
Bier is a fundamental part of the celebrations and thankfully Oktoberfest has stayed true to their roots. The original six Munich Breweries; Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spat provide the FestBiers. Each brewery has its own tent holding thousands of attendees, uniquely decorated and full of character, this is where the party comes alive.
Stein, the classic German 1 litre beer mug, is nothing short of iconic across the globe but beware it only takes a few of these strong Bavarian biers to take hold. The sounds of bands playing music, crowds chanting and of course the constant clinks of clashing bier steins fill the tents and it is not long before the wooden picnic tables have strangers dancing arm-in-arm.
Thankfully there is no shortage of hearty German cuisine to keep everyone energised amidst all the heaving drinking. All of the classic dishes make an appearance; bratwurst, sausage, pork knuckle, roasted chicken, Ox roasted on a spit, smoked fish, giant pretzels and sweet options such as traditional ginger bread.
So ensure you join us at Hophaus this Oktoberfest 5th to 14th October.
Our opening party is on Saturday 6 October with live music, DJs, sausage eating comps and more. And don’t miss our Dachshund Racing on 13 October, Hairyman Competitions , Live Music & imported Festbiers throughout.